Fall vibes

Autumn. Its right around the corner and it is my favorite time of the year. I absolutely love every single thing about it. Scarfs, boots, hoodies, cooler weather and crisp mornings, leaves changing, football games, chili and crock pot soups, whiskey and fire pits. Oh man. I get so excited just thinking about it.

I always find it nice to spend some before a new season to reflect on the past couple of months and look ahead at the intentions/goals that I would like to honor. I recently reevaluated my core desired feelings (CDFs) using the Desire Map process by Danielle Laporte. I discovered that my CDFs were: freedom, bliss, shine, authentic, inspired, and abundant. Its important to me to honor these CDFs and to work towards living a life that puts these feelings at the forefront of everything else. I want to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. In order to find myself closer to achieving my core desired feelings and being my best self, I have set the following intentions:

Go Outside- I’m not a fan of the heat that summertime brings, which means I usually don’t get outside as much from early June through the middle of September. Here in Oklahoma, not only is it a million degrees outside, but the humidity is normally through the roof. Any kind of physical activity outdoors makes me feel like I am suffocating. The air is thick and you break out into a full blown sweat just walking outside to check the mail. Ugh. I am not a fan. The fall is when I really start to get active again. I ride my bike, run, walk, etc. The cooler weather definitely energizes me and I find that physical movement outdoors is much like a moving meditation for me.  I also plan on spending a lot of time sitting on the amazing deck that my husband built for us a couple of years ago. One of my favorite things to do is crawl up in my swing with a book and a cup of tea and get lost in whatever it is I’m reading or make a cocktail and sit around the chiminea wrapped up in a blanket. Its good stuff. Regardless of what it is I am doing, I intend to spend much more quality time outdoors.

Yin/Yang Balance- I would say my personality definitely teeters more on the yang side of things and that is directly reflected in how I live my life. I am constantly going from one thing to the next without giving myself the opportunity to chill out and reset. My intention is to find more of that yin/yang balance in all aspects of my life. Instead of a vigorous vinyasa practice finding more of a yin/restorative practice to offset my running/cycling. If I have had a busy day working, teaching, etc then perhaps spend the rest of the evening on the couch snuggled up with the pups and my man. Stay up late on Saturdays and sleep in on Sundays. Have a smoothie for breakfast if I had a little too much comfort food the night before (or a glass or two of wine too many). Whatever it is, find more balance. Or at least, work towards creating a life with a little more of equal parts yin and yang.

Permission slips Brene’ Brown talks about these in her latest book “Rising Strong”. I think these are pretty much the greatest thing ever and I’ve been practicing writing myself these daily. My biggest permission slip to myself has been: “I give myself permission to say no.” This one is a biggie for me. I am a yes person. A people pleaser. I will say yes to something and then two seconds later immediately regret it and feel stuck because I don’t want to let people down. So, instead of saying yes to things right away,  I give myself permission to say no. To be noncommittal. To think it over and if it doesn’t feel like its truly going to feed my soul then say no without a single ounce of guilt.

Block out time for self-care– I have been doing this more and more and I can’t recommend it enough. Sometimes our schedules can get a little out of control and we miss out on spending time taking much needed care of ourselves. I have made it a point to block out time in my calendar for yoga classes, runs, time to read, date nights, etc. These are extremely important to me and it must be treated just like all the other priorities in my life. If I don’t put it on my calendar, more than likely it won’t get done and I end up burning the match at both ends. I do this at the beginning of each week so I know that it is taken care of and it gives me something to look forward to. 

Pray, meditate, rinse and repeat- I spend a great deal of my time worrying about the outcome of things that may or may not even occur. I stress myself out trying to control situations rather than trusting that every thing truly will be okay. I’ve been relying more and more on prayer and meditation and it has really helped slow down the chatter of my monkey mind. I intend to continue to practice this as I know it will get easier and easier. My meditation practice has always been something that is important to me but not something I make a priority like I should. My intention is to start each day with a short meditation in hopes that it sets the tone for the rest of my day.

Read- Currently on my list of books to read for the next couple of months are:

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • One Spirit Medicine by Alberto Villoldo
  • The Alchemist (again) by Paulo Coelho
  • The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer
  • Desire Map and Firestarter Sessions by Danielle Laporte (These stay on constant rotation. Ive read them numerous times and still can’t get enough)

What about you? What are your intentions/goals for the next couple of months? Have you taken the time to ask yourself what you want to accomplish or practice? 

lessons learned from the mountains

I went on vacation a couple of weeks ago and like I typically do when I go away for an extended time, I used the time away as an opportunity to reflect. My husband spent most of the day riding his mountain bike which left a lot of time for me to be alone. Spending some time soaking up the sweet mountain air in Crested Butte with little to no phone/internet service (which proved to be a blessing) was the perfect opportunity for me to disconnect, recharge, reflect and come to some pretty important realizations.

1. I hate social media.  Not having much internet service allowed for a much needed digital detox. I was able to post things but not able to go through my news feed and I must say, damn it was nice. Any time I get on Facebook it typically sucks me in for an extended amount of time and more often than not leaves me feeling worse than I did before I opened it up. Whether it brings up feelings of comparison, judgement, self doubt, jealousy, fomo (fear of missing out), or whatever, I never feel positive feelings or accomplished. I usually just feel mind sucked and like I wasted my time. What I realized was no social media means more time to connect with myself and others and gives me time to find other ways to feel inspired through books, journaling, going for long walks, spending time with friends etc. I’ve eliminated social media from my phone and iPad and only check it once every couple of days. This makes for a much happier, more present Lindsey.

2. My journal is a necessity.  I’ve typically got a shit storm going on in my head from the time I wake up until I pass out at night. Without my journal and having that space to release all the junk my brain has the death grip on, I would go crazy. Like, Girl, Interrupted crazy. I am obsessed with my journals and although the words written in them don’t mean much to others, they are incredibly valuable to me. I love looking back and reading old journals and watching how much I’ve grown and evolved over the years. Sometimes, I tear pages out and rip them up and one day I plan to destroy them all, but for now they are super important.  I wrote in my journal A LOT while we were on vacation and it helped me work through some stuff that was weighing heavy on my heart. My journal=my free psychiatrist.

3. Friends come and go. And that’s ok.  As we get older our paths start to go in different directions. We get married, have babies, work steady jobs (some of us), spend more time as a family, etc. Our time becomes more and more precious and it’s harder to stay in touch with those that we aren’t as emotionally connected to. As our priorities change, so do our friendships. We hold on to the ones we love the most as life draws us away from the relationships that require more work. And that’s ok. I believe that people come in and out of our lives at different times for very specific reasons.

4. There’s no such thing as balance.  This one is huge! I’ve struggled for a quite a long time trying to find “balance” in my life. After reading FireStarter sessions by my badass girl crush Danielle Laporte, I’ve come to understand that balance doesn’t exist. We are constantly striving for more and more and the more we chase that elusive thing called balance, the more we derail our plans for success. If we are able somehow to find balance in our lives, just like anything else, it’s only temporary. Once I was able to let go of the idea that things had to be a certain way in my life, things were able to run much more smoothly.   Again, this makes for a much happier Lindsey.

5. Nothing anyone else does is my business.  Everyone is marching to the beat of their own drum and living life based on their journey. Not mine. Sometimes putting myself in others shoes is necessary in order to understand why they do certain things, but in the end it’s not my place to pass any judgements. We all have our own ideas about how to live life and while we may not all agree, we have to find compassion and kindness and remember that we are all doing the best we can. It’s far easier to extend love towards one another than to allow resentment or judgement to take over. Choose Love. Its pretty amazing stuff.

Simplicity

//Simplicity//

This has been one of my mantras for 2015. Just keep it simple.

Admittedly, Ive spent a lot of time (and money) purchasing things that only gave me a temporary amount of happiness and inevitably ended up crammed in a drawer, lost in a pile or left somewhere in my house to collect dust.

My husband introduced my to a concept called hedonic adaptation. To sum it up, it simply means: We all have a level of happiness that we maintain on a regular basis. Its how we spend a great deal of our time as we go about our daily activities. But then, we see something new and shiny (a brand new car, a house, boat, fancy electronic device, jewelry, etc) and we (falsely) think if we purchase that item, it will significantly increase our level of happiness. And, in fact, it will. But, only for a short time. Once the new wears off we are back to the same level of happiness that we were at pre-purchase of that “had to have”, “life changing” item.

Here’s an example for you:

You go to your favorite clothing store and you a see a pair of shoes that you absolutely must have. You know you shouldn’t spend the money but you think to yourself, “These shoes are awesome and I’ve just got to have them.” So, you do it. You bite the bullet and fork over the dough thinking that these shoes are going to change your life. So you rock your new shoes and you are loving them (and all the compliments you get while wearing them) but then, they start to get a little dirty and they just aren’t as fun anymore that the new has worn off and they eventually end up in your closet, forgotten about.

Yep. I would be lying if I said that never happened to me (which is why I have more yoga pants than I care to admit).

The point is, we don’t need possessions to bring us happiness. Those don’t stand the test of time anyways.  We don’t need our belongings to define who we are. We are incredible people that have so much to give and we don’t need be judged by what kind of house we live in, car we drive or clothes we wear.

Once I got clear on what it was I wanted, I realized that I would much rather collect experiences, not meaningless objects that eventually get thrown out or donated. Its amazing how little money I spend now that I understand that I don’t need possessions to make me happy. I’ve actually found more happiness watching my bank account grow than I did when I was constantly buying things that didn’t even matter to me.

I want simplicity. I want belly laughs and happy tears. I want to explore. I want unforgettable adventures with friends and family. I don’t want to be tied down by all of my possessions and I dang sure don’t want to spend my days working in order to “keep up with the Joneses” or have the latest and greatest product on the market. I wouldn’t be able to keep up anyways.

Don’t let what you own define who you are or determine your happiness. Find freedom in knowing that less truly is so much more.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius

Bliss Jammin’ 

  

My two most absolute favorite books in the entire world are The Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte. If you’ve never heard of Danielle, your world is about to change. Drastically. Or at least mine did the minute I picked up my copy of The Desire Map. 

Let’s rewind to about a year and a half ago. I had just become a lululemon athletica ambassador and was fairly new to teaching yoga. (Why on earth lululemon wanted me, I have no clue!). I sat down with some of their employees as well as the other ambassadors and we did a visions and goals exercise. I had never really taken a step back to look at what my future goals were. In fact, I didn’t even have a clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. At first I was stressed out about being vulnerable enough to write my goals on paper for others to see. 

I thought to myself, “Crap! I’m going to be held accountable here. What if I don’t succeed?”

Long story short, I started to do a lot of fun daydreaming about what my future could look like. I eventually wrote out my 1, 5 and 10 year goals for lululemon to display in their store with all the others employees. I kept all my goals pretty low key. It was almost as if I was scared to dream too big. I stayed conservative. Cookie cutter. Boring. 

At that time, a good friend introduced me to Danielle and her books and since I was already pretty giddy about the vision and goals stuff I had just done, I decided to dive right into the books. The Desire Map is all about setting goals based on how you want to feel. You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing the feeling that you hope achieving that goal will give you. Danielle’s words are incredible powerful and motivating and she really gives you that swift kick in the butt that everyone needs to push them past where they want to be. That kind of uncomfortable, holy crap, this could actually happen place that we don’t allow ourselves to step into very often. 

The book leads you through a pretty indepth exercise of determining how you want to feel in multiple areas of your life: 

  • livelihood & lifestyle
  • body & wellness
  • creativity & learning 
  • relationships & society 
  • essence & spirituality

You come to learn what your core desired feelings (CDFs) are and then you can use those to determine what actions you need to take (i.e. goals/intentions) in order to feel exactly the way you want to feel. 

I learned my CDFs are:

  • Open to receive
  • Ignited 
  • Balanced
  • Confident
  • Abundant bliss
  • Connected 

And once I got clear on exactly how I wanted to feel I could set intentions for the future in order to ensure that 1,5,10,20,50 years from now, I will feel exactly the way I want to feel. This was a HUGE game changer for me. It completely shifted my thinking. Pre Desire Map, I was just writing down things that sounded good. Some were things I felt I needed to do in order to make others happy or some of the goals just sounded like they might be fun. But a chunk of them were not aligned with my core desired feelings, at all. 

I have since read the Desire Map and Fire Starter Sessions three times and am constantly inspired by the words in each book. I have crossed off multiple goals in the past 18 months and each time I do, the fire just burns deeper and deeper. There is something incredibly rewarding to look back at goals or intentions you have set for yourself and be able to say “done!”. Cross it off the list, move on to the next big thing and keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop pursuing what it is that lights you up. That thing that gives you butterflies in your belly. The ideas that keep you up at night because you are so damn excited to share them with the world. Do it! What is stopping you? I can tell you that the only thing getting in your way, is you. You can do anything that you set out to do. Guaranteed. 

Set some time for yourself to think about how you truly want to feel. Light a candle, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some groovy music and get to know yourself and your CDFs. Once you determine what these are (I would suggest to just pick a few) marinate on them for a while. Days. Weeks. Months. Meditate on them. Write in your journal about them. Put them on post it notes around your computer or on your bathroom mirror. Look at them every day. Multiple times a day. Once you’ve determined that these feelings are completely aligned with how you want to feel with all your heart, you can start to determine what you need to accomplish (aka your goals) in order to meet your CDFs head on. So dream. Dream as big as possible. Make a plan and live each day getting one step closer to being completely aligned with your core desired feelings. Ride that incredible wave of bliss. This is your story. You get to decide how it’s written. 

Whenever you start guiding yourself by caring about how you feel, you
start guiding yourself back into your Stream of Source Energy, and that’s
where your clarity is; that’s where your joy is; that’s where your flexibility
is; that’s where your balance is; that’s where your good ideas come from.
That’s where all the good stuff is accessed from.
—Abraham-Hicks

Just chill out. 

I’ve made meditation a part of my daily routine for quite a few years now. It’s something that is very important to me and one thing that I try not to sacrifice. Of course, I’m only human and I’ve gone through times in the past where I fell short of my daily meditation goal. At times it’s been days and even months between each one.

 When I went to Florida for my Yoga Medicine training, Tiffany Cruikshank reignited that spark and inspired me to reconnect with my practice. In our training we would have daily meditations that would last 20-30 minutes. The first couple of times we did this I had a really hard time turning it all off and being in the moment. But once I allowed myself to surrender and to just be in the moment, I was able to relax and find stillness and peace. 

I forgot just how much I loved my practice and how incredibly important it is for me to just sit down and shut up for a bit. Other than when I’m sleeping, meditation is the only other time when I can turn off that little voice inside my head. The one with the constant dialogue. The one that never wants to shut up and at times can drive me close to insanity. As I’ve continued with this practice I’ve noticed some amazing side effects:

Mental Clarity

Calmness 

The ability to observe without feeling inclined to react

Greater awareness of my thoughts, actions, responses

The ability to make decisions based on how it will truly make me feel. 

Increased attention span.

Better sleep at night. 

Deeper connection to myself. 

More love and acceptance of myself and others. 

I can’t say enough about just how incredible a regular meditation practice is for your mind, body and soul. 

Here are some steps to establish a practice of your own. Remember, this should be tailored to what works for you. Play around with it and see what you think. 

1. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. This really can be anywhere. Anywhere in the world. I have a room in my house that I’ve dedicated as my space to chill out. I prefer to light candles and sometimes diffuse oils or burn an incense but it really is your preference. 

2. Come into a comfortable posture that you can be still in. This can be seated, lying down or you might even use some yoga props or blankets to prop yourself up. I prefer seated with my legs crossed and my hands resting in my lap. Some people advise against lying down as you might end up falling asleep, but my thoughts are if you are relaxed enough to fall asleep, great. The point of this is to chill out and quiet the mind. If you fall asleep, clearly you needed it. But again, all of this is personal preference. 

3. Set a timer. I advise this especially as you are first getting into the routine of meditating. There are many different smartphone apps you can use. I really like Insight Timer. It’s free and very user friendly. Plus, if you’re a type A personality, you can track your practice. If you’re not interested in an app, simply use the timer function on your phone or just a kitchen timer works great too. If you are using your phone, be sure to switch it over to airplane mode so you don’t get distracted. I would recommend starting at 5 mins and increasing your time from there. Trust me, starting out, 5 mins feels like a long time to be still and quiet! 

4. Relax and Breathe. Once you are set up and you are comfortable, close your eyes. Draw your awareness inward. Start to notice the breath. Observe as it moves through the body. There are many different ways you can meditate. I encourage you to find what resonates with you. I really like to either count my breath or I repeat a mantra. One that is special and that I can connect with. This doesn’t have to be anything super complex. 

Some examples are: 

I breathe in love, I breathe out fear

I am love, I am light

I am strong, I am open

I am enough, I am enough 

Make this your own. That’s the only way you will stick with it. And if you notice that your mind starts to wander (and it will, trust me) draw the focus back to the breath. Every single time. Don’t get frustrated. Just observe the thoughts and allow them to go just as quickly as they come. And start small. This practice takes a lot of dedication and love. If you allow yourself to get upset or frustrated then you’ve lost the point of this. It’s about relaxing the body and stilling the mind. Finding just a nugget of peace in our very busy lives. Recognize how truly fortunate you are to have the opportunity to spend just a few moments in silence for self reflection and self love and appreciation. You might even get a journal and keep track of your practice and the things that come up mentally and emotionally for you. Have fun with this! Explore! 

Just enjoy the journey. Don’t focus so much on the destination. 

Namaste. 

 

to reach satisfaction in all
desire it’s possession in nothing,
to come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge in nothing,
to come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing,
to arrive at all,
desire to be nothing.
-St. John of the Cross

translation: want it with all your heart. but don’t get attached to it.

excerpt from The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte